Experience the adrenaline rush of ziplining in the city in which it originated.
Mary Kathryn Carpenter
Facing fears isn’t hard when it’s done surrounded by a cool breeze, gliding over the beautiful cloud forest of Monteverde, even if facing that fear involves traveling through the air on nothing more than two steel cables.
Costa Rica is a land full of adventure with a variety of options for those seeking an adrenaline rush, including ziplining through the cloud forest on the longest zipline in Latin America. At 1.6 kilometers, around a mile long, this zipline can give even the most daring adrenaline junkies a fright.
“Back in 1993, the first canopy tour to ever exist started here in Monteverde,” Jovan Rodriguez, the manager at 100% Aventura said. “A lot of people have a lot of ideas on how it started, the main one is all the research that was taking place in the forest.”
The Cloud Forest was originally a mystery, dense trees, shrouded in fog, with a variety of plants and animals within. People wanted to learn more about the inner workings of the Cloud Forest, so they began scaling trees to research them. This led to the creation of ziplining as a way to easily get from one to tree to the next, making Cloud Forest research faster and easier.
Left: Some of the equipment used at 100% Aventura in Monteverde. Vida Magazine | Mary Kathryn Carpenter
Center: Jovan Rodriguez, manager of 100% Aventura, talks about the business following their last zipline tour of the day. Vida Magazine | Mary Kathryn Carpenter
Right: Elizabeth Elkin finishes the first of three open air ziplines over the cloud forest at 100% Aventura in Monteverde. Vida Magazine | Mary Kathryn Carpenter
In addition to the longest zipline in Latin America, 100% Aventura also houses the Mega Tarzan swing. The swing takes all the fun of a normal swing and adds the height of the zipline, dropping guests from approximately 200 feet in the air. All zipline tours at 100% Aventura include nine different ziplines, which vary in length from just a few feet, to a mile long. Zipline tours also include a hanging bridge and the opportunity to face the Mega Tarzan swing.
“The great thing about this particular canopy tour and our hanging bridges is that we start you off very slow, with very small lines, and that really builds the confidence up in people,” Rodriguez said.
Naomi Fellows came to 100% Aventura in November of 2017 with a group of six, most of whom, herself included, had an extreme fear of heights.
“The fact that they had enough staff to cover all the bases was very assuring,” said Fellows. “You could also tell that they really enjoyed their jobs. They cracked a few jokes to make us more comfortable, but were also very clear and specific. One would put everything on and another would come and double check it to ensure the safety of everything.”
The Original Canopy Tour is credited with being the first canopy tour to ever exist, opening in 1997, and it still exists in Monteverde today, Rodriguez said. Ziplining now exists throughout Costa Rica and has spread into many other countries around the world.
Jovan said the amount of tourists that come to 100% Aventura increases every year, because despite now being around the world, people want to experience ziplining in the activity’s birthplace. However, not all companies offer the same things in their tours, so it is important to research multiple companies to get exactly what you’re looking for.
Alex Richey ziplines over the cloud forest at 100% Aventura in Monteverde. Vida Magazine | Mary Kathryn Carpenter
Rodriguez also explained that once guests start, they are not required to finish all of the lines. There are multiple locations throughout the tour where guests can choose to walk back to reception if they don’t feel they can continue, but many continue for the adventure of a lifetime.
“Our hanging bridges are designed for people who are scared of heights,” Rodriguez said. “The bridges are in a secondary forest, they’re not very tall, they’re not very long, and they’re not super wide so that you feel unstable and nervous while you’re out there. So if you’re scared of heights, it’s a great company to come and visit, not only to help you get over that fear of heights, but to actually come and enjoy something out in the forest that might not intimidate you too much.”
For those who are still hesitant to consider ziplining, understanding the safety precautions taken by 100% Aventura can put the mind at ease.
“We have certification from the manufacturers that sell us the cables, and the manufacturers guarantee us a lifespan of three years on every single cable we put up, but we took it a step further and we switch them out every single year,” Rodriguez said.
The workers test all of the ziplines and inspect all of the company’s hooks, cables, gloves, helmets and straps every morning.
“For us to guarantee that it’s a functioning tour, we send a guide out every single morning to inspect all the cables, platforms and every other operation and trails that we’re gonna use during the day so that nothing catches us by surprise,” Rodriguez said. He also assured that the company has never had anyone fall from their ziplines.
“Of the six people in our group, only two were originally committed to doing the [Mega Tarzan swing], but, at the end of it, we felt empowered, and five of us ended up going through with it,” Fellows said. “It’s a really good course for someone who’s a bit skeptical but still wants to push themselves out of their comfort zone.”